Upstream in Winecurrent

Vintages Release: June 11, 2016

**** drink now Oh Canada!
Château des Charmes Pinot Noir ‘Old Vines’ 2011
VQA Niagara-on-the-Lake $18.95 (57349) 13.0% alcohol
Earthy and red berry aromas precede a dry, tang-laden wash of dark berry and red currant robed in spice and still-evolving tannin. It’s mid weight with good texture and a drying finish. After a two-hour aeration/decant pour alongside a baked red pepper filled with tomato, mushrooms, rice and grilled, chopped sirloin steak. (Vic Harradine)

Vintages Release: June 25, 2016 (2013 Vintage available in select stores)

**** drink now 
Chateau Ste. Michelle 'Columbia Valley' Chardonnay 2014 
Columbia Valley $20.95 (232439) 14.0% alcohol
Blending toasted nut and buttered popcorn with ripe orchard fruit and citrus, this is a nicely balanced mid-weight white. Dry, with a fresh yet creamy texture, the flavours of pear and Honey Crisp apple mingle with notes of grilled toast and hints of vanilla and spice. Round through the finish, it shows good balance, as well as good length on the clean finish. (Susan Desjardins)

Vintages Release: July 23, 2016

****1/2 drink now Exceptional Value! 
Vignoble Berne ‘Terres de Berne’ Rosé 2015
AOP Côtes de Provence, France $17.95 
This Cinsault/Grenache blend hails from Provence, the beating heart of southern France. It delivers a delicate nose of strawberry and spice with a classic ‘Oeil de Perdrix’ hue in the glass. This is mid weight and well textured with flavours of red currant, cherry and ruby red grapefruit. It finishes crisp, clean and lip-smacking good. Give it a go with roast chicken, pan-seared salmon or mixed deli platter. (Vic Harradine)

Vintages Release: August 20, 2016

**** drink or cellar 
Chateau Ste. Michelle 'Columbia Valley' Syrah' 2013
Columbia Valley $20.95 (949651) 13.5% alcohol
Co-fermented with a touch of Viognier, bursting with aromas of blackberry, blueberry pie and licorice, this crowd-pleaser tickles the senses with its floral nuances and lifted notes of exotic spice and cracked pepper. Dry, mid-full weight, the palate is awash with flavours of cassis jam and black raspberry coulis underlaid with supple tannins, a mineral quality and fine acidity. The finish is long and dry with a pleasing toasty quality. Serve with herbed grilled leg of lamb or duck confit. (Susan Desjardins)

Vintages Release: November 12, 2016 (2012 Vintage available in select stores)

****1/2 drink or cellar 
Chateau Ste. Michelle 'Indian Wells' Cabernet Sauvignon 2013
Columbia Valley $25.95 (55764) 14.5% alcohol
Another winner, as was the 2012, this inky wine offers lovely spiced floral notes overlaid on dried lavender, cassis, cedar, spice and vanilla. There's terrific balance here, great depth of jammy dark fruit—blackberry and cassis to the fore—with complexity coming through the notes of pepper and spice, a touch of Syrah was blended in, dark chocolate-coated coffee bean and an earthy quality. This appealing and approachable red delivers a velvety finish that subtly expresses its supple, well-defined structure. Pick up a few bottles to enjoy with friends. (Susan Desjardins)

Vintages Release: TBA 2016

**** drink or cellar 
Chateau Ste. Michelle 'Columbia Valley' Merlot 2013 
Columbia Valley $TBA 13.5% alcohol
A very approachable wine, this offers lush black fruit aromas—black plum, cherry and berry—garnished with notes of spice and pepper (Syrah accents the Merlot) and grilled peppers. Dry and medium-full bodied, rich, ripe dark fruit wraps around a core of supple tannins, toasty oaky notes expanding on the palate. With a good underlying structure, a velvety texture balanced by a nice level of freshness, this is a tasty, easy-going fruit-forward wine you'll enjoy with a range of grilled meats. (Susan Desjardins)

Vintages Release: December 2016

**** drink or cellar 
Chateau Ste. Michelle 'Columbia Valley' Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 
Columbia Valley $19.95 (269357) 13.5% alcohol
Opaque ruby, this sings of cassis and black raspberry, offering earthy notes, dried herbs and sweet vanilla. Dry, full bodied, the concentrated ripe fruit is underpinned with firm yet fine-grained tannins, while the earthy quality replays, notes of chocolate presenting through the lasting, dry finish. An approachable Cabernet, this offers good value and is a fine match for grilled ribeye steak. (Susan Desjardins)